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Video: Google Translate breaks down language barrier for Portadown Youth

Google sent a team from America to film the successful team using the app

Published 20/10/2015

From Portadown to Premier League clubs- all with a little help from Google Translate.

It was a language barrier broken down by a love of football for Alberto Balde who was born in Spain but moved to Northern Ireland when his mum got a job here.

He was living in Portadown and his love for football took him to Portadown Youth Football Club.

All he wanted to do was play football -  but couldn't speak any English.

But just as he couldn't speak English - the coaches couldn't speak Spanish to communicate with him.

In 2013 Gary Magee the manager of Portadown Youth under 12s Football Club, was given the idea of using the Google Translate App to help communicate instructions to Alberto.

It also let Alberto speak with fellow teammates.

Gary said: "It was the breakthrough we needed. First we started with the basics and we got into more advance drills.

"We just kept working with him and it just sort of took off.

"It's amazing what a little communication can do.  Everyone just loves Alberto. He'll always be a Portadown boy -he's one of us now."

Coach Gary Magee used the Google Translate app to communicate
Coach Gary Magee used the Google Translate app to communicate

And it helped Alberto with his game, he said: "Gary taught me things like the bicycle kick, attacking crosses, protecting the ball and things like that."

The story was first published in the Portadown Times with Google then picking up on the news and sending a crew from America to spend time filming and making a video about Alberto's story.

It begins with Alberto who says: "My name is Alberto and I love football. When my mom moved here for work. I was a little scared at first. I really wanted to play football but I  didn't speak any English at all."

But those fears were soon quashed for Alberto thanks to the Google Translate app and this summer he travelled from Portadown to England where he's training with several premier league clubs.

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